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SBS – Silent Warriors: The Authorised Wartime History

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From award-winning historian Saul David, the first authorised history of the SBS. Britain’s SBS – or Special Boat Section – was the world’s first maritime special operations unit. Founded in the dark days of 1940, it started as a small and inexperienced outfit that leaned heavily on volunteers’ raw courage and boyish enthusiasm. It would become one of the most effective figh From award-winning historian Saul David, the first authorised history of the SBS. Britain’s SBS – or Special Boat Section – was the world’s first maritime special operations unit. Founded in the dark days of 1940, it started as a small and inexperienced outfit that leaned heavily on volunteers’ raw courage and boyish enthusiasm. It would become one of the most effective fighting forces of the Second World War – and has served as a model for Special Forces ever since. Its first mission was a daring beach reconnaissance of Rhodes in the spring of 1941. Over the next four years, the SBS and its affiliates would carry out many more spectacular operations in the Mediterranean, the Atlantic, the Channel and the Far East: they included the destruction of enemy ships, railways and bridges; the rescue of fugitive Allied soldiers; the support of Commando operations; the survey of coastal landing zones in North Africa, Italy and France; and the use of midget submarines to signpost the Normandy beaches on D-Day. Using new material from multiple archives (including the secret SBS archives in Poole), this book is the first authoritative history of Britain’s maritime special operations. Very much a human tale, it concentrates on the key personalities and the daredevil missions they undertook. It is an authorized history - the first time the SBS Regimental Association has given its seal of approval to any book about the Unit’s past activities – but not an official one. What the SBS and its affiliated units were able to achieve in four years of warfare is nothing less than extraordinary. At no time did these units individually number more than a hundred officers and men. Yet these small ‘Bands of Brothers’ were able to take part in scores of planned operations from submarines, surface craft and other means of transport, as well as carry out numerous minor reconnaissance trips and fighting patrols behind enemy lines. Their missions – accomplished by a handful of brave and determined men, paddling flimsy canoes, and armed only with knives, pistols and a few sub machine guns – were some of the most audacious and legendary of the war.


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From award-winning historian Saul David, the first authorised history of the SBS. Britain’s SBS – or Special Boat Section – was the world’s first maritime special operations unit. Founded in the dark days of 1940, it started as a small and inexperienced outfit that leaned heavily on volunteers’ raw courage and boyish enthusiasm. It would become one of the most effective figh From award-winning historian Saul David, the first authorised history of the SBS. Britain’s SBS – or Special Boat Section – was the world’s first maritime special operations unit. Founded in the dark days of 1940, it started as a small and inexperienced outfit that leaned heavily on volunteers’ raw courage and boyish enthusiasm. It would become one of the most effective fighting forces of the Second World War – and has served as a model for Special Forces ever since. Its first mission was a daring beach reconnaissance of Rhodes in the spring of 1941. Over the next four years, the SBS and its affiliates would carry out many more spectacular operations in the Mediterranean, the Atlantic, the Channel and the Far East: they included the destruction of enemy ships, railways and bridges; the rescue of fugitive Allied soldiers; the support of Commando operations; the survey of coastal landing zones in North Africa, Italy and France; and the use of midget submarines to signpost the Normandy beaches on D-Day. Using new material from multiple archives (including the secret SBS archives in Poole), this book is the first authoritative history of Britain’s maritime special operations. Very much a human tale, it concentrates on the key personalities and the daredevil missions they undertook. It is an authorized history - the first time the SBS Regimental Association has given its seal of approval to any book about the Unit’s past activities – but not an official one. What the SBS and its affiliated units were able to achieve in four years of warfare is nothing less than extraordinary. At no time did these units individually number more than a hundred officers and men. Yet these small ‘Bands of Brothers’ were able to take part in scores of planned operations from submarines, surface craft and other means of transport, as well as carry out numerous minor reconnaissance trips and fighting patrols behind enemy lines. Their missions – accomplished by a handful of brave and determined men, paddling flimsy canoes, and armed only with knives, pistols and a few sub machine guns – were some of the most audacious and legendary of the war.

30 review for SBS – Silent Warriors: The Authorised Wartime History

  1. 5 out of 5

    Cropredy

    This is the story of the Special Boat Service in World War II. It spans 5 years from 1941 to 1945 and ranges across the Mediterranean to Normandy to South East Asia. The book is a mix of chapters between planning/organizational and operations. I'd say 65% of the book was devoted to operations. And these are the star of the show. I was dimly aware of some of the operations described in the book and not aware at all of others. As readers, we have the good fortune to have first hand accounts of survi This is the story of the Special Boat Service in World War II. It spans 5 years from 1941 to 1945 and ranges across the Mediterranean to Normandy to South East Asia. The book is a mix of chapters between planning/organizational and operations. I'd say 65% of the book was devoted to operations. And these are the star of the show. I was dimly aware of some of the operations described in the book and not aware at all of others. As readers, we have the good fortune to have first hand accounts of survivors to make the operations quite gripping. Basically, we're (mostly) talking about recon, demolition, and limpet mine planting against Axis hulls - mostly done in two man folbots (think of a collapsible kayak) in the dead of night. Very one-on-one type of warfare. Excellent maps and photos. I only wish more had been told about operations in the Aegean and less on Mark Clark's attempted negotiation with the Vichy French to not resist the Operation Torch Allied landings (as the SBS played basically a transport role here). Good accounts of the role British subs played in the Med (a topic that gets little ink vis-a-vis the role of U-Boats in the North Atlantic) Readable, not a tortured official history-style account nor an academic account. Recommended for any WWII history buff who is unfamiliar with the role of the SBS.

  2. 4 out of 5

    David J Potter

    Sobering read of heroic deeds Excellent recounting of the exploits of a very brave group of people in WWII. The details of each undertaking are well described whether successful or not .

  3. 4 out of 5

    Timothy

    An authoritative but rather dry account of the SBS exploits during WW2. Recommended for military history enthusiasts. It demonstrates the difference a small number of exceptional individuals can make.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Mark Hamilton

    Well researched throughout and written in an engaging style.

  5. 4 out of 5

    James Hood

  6. 5 out of 5

    Roger Jobson

  7. 4 out of 5

    Paul

  8. 4 out of 5

    Rob Allen

  9. 5 out of 5

    Henry Merewether

  10. 4 out of 5

    Dr A J Fowles

  11. 5 out of 5

    Michael Tate

  12. 4 out of 5

    Hamish

  13. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Gowen

  14. 4 out of 5

    Gareth Russell

  15. 4 out of 5

    Joe Edwards

  16. 4 out of 5

    NJ Rose

  17. 5 out of 5

    Elitsa Martinova

  18. 5 out of 5

    Julian Lloyd

  19. 5 out of 5

    desmond hills

  20. 4 out of 5

    Umar Masood

  21. 4 out of 5

    Rupert Hague-Holmes

  22. 4 out of 5

    Eric Barlow

  23. 5 out of 5

    mr roger mc Whiteway

  24. 4 out of 5

    Wayne

  25. 5 out of 5

    Gerwyn

  26. 4 out of 5

    Wobbly

  27. 4 out of 5

    Brad Bennett

  28. 5 out of 5

    David Kitchenham

  29. 4 out of 5

    Steve Markham

  30. 4 out of 5

    E.D.Ponting

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